WWE looks to be planning a big feat of strength for Ryback at Mania, when WWE's Eating Machine takes on the Headmaster of the Hall of Pain, Mark Henry.
While the match has not been made official, the two powerhouse superstars have been on a collision course for a couple of weeks now, and it looks as if things are slowly but surely building to a showdown on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
This match marks a big day for Ryback, being this is his WrestleMania debut. While Ryback has been in the spotlight before, he's never been to The Big Dance, and as many people know, what you do at Mania has the potential to be remembered forever.
From The Slam Heard 'Round The World at WrestleMania III when Hulk Hogan slammed Andre the Giant to Jeff Hardy choosing immortality over victory at WrestleMania XXIII when he chose to, instead of grab the Money in The Bank briefcase, take both himself and Edge out of the match with a death-defying leap from the top of a ladder, breaking both himself and Edge in half at the urging of his older brother.
Unfortunately, Ryback's most memorable moment seems to be a botched attempt at Shell Shock on Tensai on RAW, coincidentally coming off the heels of him successfully hitting Shell Shock on Tensai on an episode of Smackdown.
This, though, had the benefit of revealing something about Shell Shock not many people may realize. Ryback's strength is not the reason for the failure of the move. Simply put, when an opponent's stomach is too large, it pushes Ryback's head forward/down, putting him in an awkward stance and generally making the move unusable against larger foes.
Many people are counting on (and in some cases, hoping,) Ryback fails to lift Henry at Mania. However, I like Ryback. He's rough around the edges, but I think there's potential there for multiple World Titles with a few modifications, here and there.
One of which, would be the use of one or two new finishing moves to replace Shell Shock.
Perhaps even an alternative for those times Ryback has a large opponent. Since Mania is coming up, it seems like a fitting place to debut a new finisher and shatter any belief against his ability, I've pondered a few moves Ryback could use instead of or alongside Shell Shock to finish opponents.
WWE has its fair share of superstars who utilize the Fireman's Carry as a setup for their finishing move. John Cena, CM Punk, Darren Young, and of course Brock Lesnar. While some may see it as somewhat anti-climactic to have another superstar use the lift, you can't argue that the setup is pretty versatile.
You can do just about anything from this position including stunners, cutters, facebusters, powerslams, and neckbreakers. So, with so much variety, you had to have seen at least one such move going on this list, and I personally think it's a good one.
Ryback's style in the ring is all about power. He likes to toss, slam, and generally beat people down in the ring. So why not give him a finishing move that allows him to power opponents down to the mat with authority? Why not give him the Fireman's Carry Side Slam?
Unlike Shell Shock, it doesn't require a difficult setup, it allows him to continue with his trademark march around the ring when used, and offers a bit of surprise, if done right, as the crowds may be unsure of which move Ryback would be going for between this and Shell Shock.
Potential Name: Hunting Beast
Formerly used by Batista during his last bit of time with the company, the Scissor Armbar isn't a move you see too often, and could potentially find use as a submission finisher for Ryback. Big Hungry could stand to add something a little more unexpected to his repertoire and a submission move could be a big step in the right direction for him.
People often criticize him as one-dimensional, and these claims are not without merit. I think having a submission finisher in his back pocket could help Ryback not only with larger opponents, but with a move like this, one would argue that it may force Ryback to perhaps change his style slightly and maybe target the arm a bit more to soften foes up.
Such a style change could bring more focus to his otherwise wild in-ring style, and with focus comes efficiency. Said efficiency could help to lessen or otherwise end the problem people have called Ryback out on: cardio.
When you're working a limb, you can get a better sense of what you want to do, rather than Ryback flying from one power move to another. Even if this isn't the move, a submission finisher has the potential to really add something to Ryback.
Potential Name: Feeding Time/Frenzy
Already dubbed the "Meat Hook," Ryback has used the move to finish a match on occasion. As seen above, it was his preferred method of destruction during his time in The Nexus.
Since then, the man known as Ryback has only further refined his use of the time-tested attack, and it's become an integral part of his arsenal. Even as Ryback, after failing to lift Tensai, Ryback opted to go back to the Lariat to put away the tattooed titan.
Nobody in the WWE uses the Lariat as of now, most opting to make the clothesline part of a sequence to build momentum. Granted, the move would likely need to be replaced itself as far as Ryback's signature moves go, but perhaps now would be a good time to start to use the Boulder Holder to more effect.
To put away someone like Mark Henry with a Lariat, though, one would have to make the move look pretty impressive.
I would likely have it done in a manner similar to Ted DiBiase's own usage, whereby the attacker would get a running start from one side of the ring to the other before actually hitting the attack. Ryback could pump the crowd up as usual by doing his "wake up" sequence before he makes his first run across the ring.
The Cobra Clutch is a move that, by itself, has led to success for WWE Hall of Famers Sgt. Slaughter and "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. Still, I have to wonder if they ever saw more potential for the move than a simple submission, because these days, The Cobra Clutch is not simply just an effective finisher. The Clutch is also an effective transition hold, which can then be circled back into a submission.
The Cobra Clutch Backbreaker, for example, is a beautiful move (or at least as beautiful as you'd like to call a guy like Big Show, who used it), because not only does it allow one to display both knowledge of wrestling holds by sinking in The Clutch, it shows power in both the user lifting the opponent into the air and down again, while maintaining their grip on the submission.
Lastly, one has the option of either going into a submission by keeping the lock on or they can simply hit the backbreaker and call it a match. Either way, you've got your match won nine times out of ten.
All of these would be great things to see from Ryback. We combine the power that brought him to the dance, with the finesse that can win over older fans and enchant newer ones as well.
Seeing as how Ryback would also be going into a match with Mark Henry, I have to think it would truly be something if Ryback not only managed to get him up for the backbreaker, but also managed to make The World's Strongest Man tap out.
Potential Name: Lion Clutch (Backbreaker)
A move that needs little introduction to most people, I'm sure. What can I say about The Pounce that isn't evident just by watching (and honestly it's more fun to watch the move than read about it)? It's simple but effective.
I will say this, though, I think it would take time to perfect the move. I would think a guy the size of Ryback would have to be careful not to seriously injure someone with the move, but I don't think it's impossible.
Potential Name: The Pounce (Hey, the name does kind of fit with his gimmick, anyway.)
Another Side Slam variation, and a personal favorite, The Sit-out Side Slam is also a move that could be used to lift and drop Henry down to the mat, should Ryback choose to use this move as a new finisher.
While I was worried for a bit that people may well remember the move as being used by Mason Ryan, I scapped the thought. By now even a lot of you probably haven't thought about Ryan before seeing this.
Aside from that, Ryan looks to be utilizing the Vertical Suplex Powerslam as his preferred finisher these days.
As shown above, the move can be a great display of power, and generally doesn't look to need a lot of assistance to look good. Again, this move goes back to showing off what brought Ryback to the dance: his power.
While versatility has a lot of advantages, there's also something to be said for sticking to your roots.
Potential Name: R.R.S (Ryback Reigns Supreme (( The World Over?))
Here we have a move, I'm actually not sure Vince McMahon would approve of, but I think a move that could be well utilized for Ryback to display both power and skill in executing.
I haven't been able to see too many examples of the move, but from what I see, it could be a solid move as it keeps the opponent moving (thus preventing them really slipping with a good grip,) and also can land with some nice impact when performed.
Again though, because this move is actually a piledriver variation, I don't think Vince would much appreciate him using this move.
Still, he let Cena perform a variation of the move (though Cena was going for Emerald Flowsion, it looked like a closer match for the CCD), but with a bit more leeway to really spike it down, this could be a sight to see in a Ryback match.
Potential Name: KCA (Killer Crunch Appetite)
The go-to hold for soon-to-be Hall of Famer Bob Backlund, The Crossface Chicken Wing is a classic hold in professional wrestling, but not often one we see today.
Perhaps Ryback could bring back the use of the hold in a more brutal fashion, as it would help to add to the ferocity of his character and it would be a nice way (I think,) to pay tribute to a Legend going into the Hall.
Maybe even have Backlund at ringside for Ryback's match with Henry where he debuts it in honor of the Legend? (Not in the same way WWE has done with The Miz and Flair, mind you.)
Of course, seeing Henry in this position, being brought down to his keens and finally to his back in the Submission hold, would massively put Ryback over at Mania.
As of late, it's become a rare treat to say "I beat Mark Henry." I don't think that anyone, not even the then-World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, could force the big man to submit.
With such an iconic move in his arsenal, coming off a victory like this could possibly do more than the simple show of strength planned for as of now. Plus, the move just happens to look all kinds of painful.
Potential Name: The Food Chain
These are all just a few of the moves Ryback could use to put away Henry for his big WrestleMania moment. However, there is also the possibility that Ryback will not be changing his moveset for this match, and will instead be looking to hoist The Mammoth atop his shoulders for the biggest Shell Shock of his career.
Personally, I do feel that Ryback is indeed capable of picking up Mark Henry (if he wasn't, I doubt we'd be having this match).
Only time will tell what WrestleMania has in store for us, but I would like some of you to think about this article on a broader sense of Mania. I just showed you eight ways Ryback could beat Mark Henry.
Now, while I never changed my predicted outcome, I changed several times how said outcome came to be. This thought process could be applied to all of WrestleMania this year.
People have been crying foul over the predictability of it all, but nobody knows how exactly the endings will play out.
We've had people saying Punk could lose, but at the same time up his status by perhaps kicking out of the Tombstone (though I would argue that could backfire if Punk is going to tap out, but hey, that's one of a bunch of different scenarios), that John Cena could turn heel (everybody needs hope, right?) and that Brock's new contract could mean he does indeed finish The Game one more time, before moving on to bigger fish: The Rock, for example.
There's a lot more to WrestleMania than just the outcome of the matches.
There's the amazing spectacles like entrances of The Undertaker, John Cena, and Triple H, there's that breathtaking view of the arena all throughout the night, The WrestleMania Moments that live on in memories forever.
Those are factors that make me want to purchase WrestleMania regardless of the outcome of matches. If my guys don't win, yeah I'll be a bit bummed but overall it's hard not to like Mania as long as you're willing to look less at what you know and more at what you don't know.